Ickenham trader retires after 20 years selling local souvenirs

A trader who has sold Hillingdon-based souvenirs and trinkets for 20 years is retiring.

Sheena Rosser has been selling goods such as photos tea-towels, mugs and postcards of Hillingdon towns like Uxbridge, Ruislip and Ickenham since 1995.

She started off trading at markets in the borough and online, before setting up her shop PhotosOnThings in the Pavillions Shopping Centre nearly six years ago. There she also sells personalised items such as T-shirts and magnets.

But a combination of factors has led the grandmother, from Ickenham, to call it a day. She said: "When I first started I didn't have grandchildren. Now I have five and I want to see more of them."

Now 69, Mrs Rosser stumbled into her line of work when she made postcards for German and French students who came to Ickenham during a school exchange in 1995.

She said: "I wrote a booklet about Ickenham and had it translated into French and German because there was nothing to give them to take back home. I wanted to give them something from the local area. All we had were things for London and that bugged me.

"Then I started taking photos all over the borough and used to have exhibitions."

She runs her shop by herself and when not there has to process online orders at home. She is looking forward to retiring, but is not sure what she will do.

She said: "Everyone's asking me that because I'm a busy person but I haven't got to that stage yet. Originally I thought I'd go back to doing the internet only, but that takes up a lot of time and I thought if I'm going to retire, I'm going to retire properly.

"I'm a very busy person so I can't see myself siting here twiddling my thumbs."

Apart from the chance of spending more time with her family, Mrs Rosser said falling business is another reason to call it a day, despite her business being unique in the borough. She said: "No other place in the borough sells these things. Libraries used to but now they direct people to me.

"But it just felt right to retire now. I've got grandchildren, not so many people are interested in these sorts of things any more, trade has gone down, and people don't much money at the moment."

Mrs Rosser is not sure when her last day of trading will be but expects it to be sometime in March. Her shop will be replaced with a delicatessen.

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Education chief opens new Ickenham special needs school

A new school in Ickenham for pupils with learning difficulties has celebrated its official opening.

Pentland Field School welcomed permanent secretary for the Department of Education Chris Wormald earlier this month.

The school is run by The Eden Academy, which runs a 'family of schools' with two more in Hillingdon and Harrow, and is for pupils with moderate to severe learning difficulties.

The school is on the site of a former US air force school in Pentland Way, and opened to its first 33 pupils on January 12.

Headteacher Audrey Pantelis said: "I am very excited to be leading this brand new school which caters so well for our pupils and is supported by the experience of the team of the Eden Academy.

"At Pentland Field School there is a special emphasis on Speech & Language Therapy to ensure we help to improve our pupils' language and communication and we have a team of dedicated creative and physical therapists similar to the current set-up in our other Academy schools."

The official reopening took place on February 6

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